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ARE THANK YOU NOTES YOUR BEST DEFENSE AGAINST NEGATIVE FEEDBACK?
A few months ago, we received two negative feedback within a week’s time. Since we aren’t mega high volume sellers, this hugely affected our feedback and, frankly, scared the crap out of us. All of a sudden we had 99.5% positive feedback – not bad, but not what we wanted. What was really discouraging is that both negative feedback should have never happened (in my opinion, of course…). The first one came from a buyer who didn’t read the description (the jacket was tailored) or look at the included measurements. Of course, the jacket didn’t fit. Great. The second came from an honest oversight on our part. The jacket was missing a button, which was apparently very offensive to the buyer. A full refund didn’t spare us from her feedback.
The truth is:
If you have 100% feedback, you are lucky enough to have not had any psychotic buyers.
Your time will come.
SO, WHAT TO DO?
Well, we figured that reminding people that: 1. we’re actually human and 2. that they have another recourse besides negative feedback, would get us what we were looking for (no negative feedback that we didn’t deserve). So, after using the cards for 6 months or so, here are our thoughts:
Including your return policy can encourage buyers to request a return rather than simply leaving negative feedback.Free advertising for your store! This is your chance to get your customers to associate your awesome product with your eBay store name and logo. While we don’t recommend pushing any other advertising in your orders, getting return customers through brand recognition can be very important for niche businesses.Not only have we noted a decrease in negative feedback, we have also noticed an increase in the number of buyers that actually leave feedback for us! On our card we pretty much ask for either positive feedback or a return, so that may be making the difference.Including cards not only increases your level of professionalism, but also humanizes you to the buyer. Buyers feel much safer leaving scathing feedback in anonymity for nameless, faceless, “businesses.”
One of the first things we noticed when we started including cards is that we had a sharp increase in returns. While our non-clothing items return rate has held steady, our rate of returns for clothing has shot up to over 4%. While we explicitly offer “hassle free” returns on our card, not doing so may have kept our returns where they were. Returns don’t bother us much though, simply refund and relist!The major pain is that you have to design and buy a card. Awww shucks….imagine having to reinvest in your business? So what is the cost? Well, it depends on how many you want. This may seem like an unhelpful answer, but many printing companies offer bulk discounts if you order in quantity. We order ours in batches of 2,000 and pay about $0.07 a piece. This can be as low as $0.04 for an order of 20,000 cards or as high as $0.25 a piece if you only want 50 at a time.
WHAT TO INCLUDE:
- Say thank you! Your customers are the life blood of your business. Let them know that they’re awesome!
- Your store name/logo. Keep your brand in front of your customer’s eyes! If you don’t have a logo, get one. It doesn’t have to be complex, just recognizable. We realized we needed one while we were making our thank you notes, so Kirstie spent 20 minutes making one. If you are a niche seller, be sure to encourage your customer to follow your store on eBay or even visit your website.
- Your return policy….maybe. We chose to mention returns on our card so as to keep it as an option in our customers minds. Not because returns are great, but because they’re a positive alternative to negative or neutral feedback.
- We know some resellers who actually include a small blurb about themselves (even one couple who includes a picture). This is usually part of their thank you, e.g. “Thank you for supporting our small business! Your purchase buys shoes for our kids, helps pay our bills, etc.” Just be careful about including anything too sensitive.
P.S. when designing your cards, unless you have great skills, try to keep the number of different fonts, colors, and graphics you use to a minimum. This will help your cards look more professional and less like a middle-schooler’s power point presentation for their science class. 🙂
WHERE TO GET THEM…
Back before eBay and I found each other, I worked in a warehouse for an online retailer. When I first took the job, I noticed a large box of pens with the company name on them by the packing tables. When I asked whey we weren’t including them in the orders, the other workers told me that they were an embarrassment. I picked up a pen, clicked it open…and the end flew off. Long story short, the owner had spent a bunch of money because he got a “good deal” on the promotional pens. And this good deal turned out to be a total waste of money. So, spend a little more and don’t buy crap! Whether we’re printing cards for our eBay orders, t-shirts for another business we run, or promotional products for our instagram, we’ve found a company that we use consistently: vistaprint.com